Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need To Know About ‘Huggy Wuggy’

You may have seen the growing number of articles about the Huggy Wuggy character from horror survival game Poppy Playtime. Similar the Momo Challenge stories, this is usually accompanied with a scary blue character with red lips and sharp teeth and warnings about the upsetting or harmful impact on children.

However, no evidence has been reported that links back to the game itself. Rather, warnings from head teachers and Police have led to misinformation about the content of the game and potential impact on children.

Most of the panic surrounds related content created on TikTok and YouTube that features the game characters in unsettling scenarios. One of these video included a song, Free Hugs, with lyrics “Cause I could just hug you here. Forever, forever. Till you breathe your last breath.”

If you are a parent or guardian concerned about this, it’s important to understand the game before you delete it from children’s devices. Rather than a knee-jerk reaction, it’s a chance to talk to your child about the content and then make an informed decision about it with them.

Poppy Playtime Age Rating

The game itself is a scary experience designed to thrill and unsettle. It has been rated as suitable for 13 year-olds by ESRB and for 12 year-olds by PEGI. This includes descriptors for Violence, Blood from ESRB and Moderate Violence and Horror from PEGI.

The VSC Rating Board, extend the PEGI rating by stating “this game features a sense of threat and dread throughout as the player’s character explores an abandoned factory. In one intense sequence, the player’s character is pursued by a monster, including through a series of dark air vents. In another sequence, a heavy box is dropped onto a fantasy character, causing it to fall from a height. Blood appears on some pipes that the character strikes as it falls.”

This applies to the game itself rather than any fan created content. There are also unofficial fan made versions of the game on Roblox (Poppy Playtime Morphs) which do not fall under the remit of ESRB or PEGI as they are user generated content.

Taking care to understand the actual source of potentially upsetting content is important for parents. Not only so we can ensure that the settings on our children’s social media and video accounts are appropriately configured, but to ensure we don’t over react to what is a popular game.

The real danger is that stories about Poppy Playtime and the Huggy Wuggy character spiral out of control like the Momo Challenge. We’ve already seen reports eager to connect the scary Huggy Wuggy character to children jumping out of windows or breath holding playground games.

This leads to a muddled response to actual concerns children have. Banning a child from a game they are enjoying because of a related video makes it much less likely for them to talk to parents if something genuinely upsetting happens online.

The real danger with this panicked response is that it separates parents from the gaming world of their child. Much better, is to use rating advice and to play the game ourselves. We can then be present in the gaming world of our children and provide informed guidance.

Poppy Playtime Creator

I spoke to Zach Belanger, President and CEO of Enchanted Mob who made the Poppy Playtime game. I asked who the game was aimed at. “Poppy Playtime was not created with the intention to target any specific audience. Bear in mind that this was the first game our studio ever created, and our main priority was to create something that we would enjoy playing ourselves.

Beyond that, we have a passion for any content we create to be enjoyable by audiences of all ages. To us, it isn’t accurate to say that we created Poppy Playtime to be consumed by kids or adults, but rather our goal was simply to inspire and entertain anyone who decided to play the game.”

With this in mind, I wondered if the warnings from schools had come as a surprise? “The vast majority of the controversy we are seeing regarding warnings from schools about the Huggy Wuggy character are completely untrue and/or grossly exaggerated.

One of the things we’ve read online is that Huggy Wuggy whispers creepy things into one’s ear while playing, but anyone who has actually played Poppy Playtime would know that Huggy Wuggy does not even have a voice in Chapter 1, so it’s impossible for him to have whispered anything.”

“As far as we are aware, all of these warnings from schools are originating from fan made content based off of our game, but if you want my personal opinion, I do not think that any of these videos should be cause for concern, and we appreciate all the hard work and dedication our fans are put toward creating content inspired off of Poppy Playtime.”

Huggy Wuggy Song Creator

The creator of one of the more popular pieces of fan content was Igor Gordiyenko who is TryHardNinja on YouTube. He created the controversial Huggy Wuggy song that has around 5 million views.

I asked what the inspiration for the song and reason for the lyrics. “I wrote the song inspired by the story and lore of Huggy Wuggy from the game Poppy Playtime. In the game the player investigates a toy factory in which all the employees disappeared and some of the toys that used to be developed there have become sinister killer monsters. Huggy Wuggy is one of the antagonist monsters in the game.

The jingle in the game and game’s soundtrack has the lyrics, ‘He’ll squeeze you ‘til you pop’. I thought it would be creative to take the original jingle which mentions hugging forever and make it into a more obvious sinister version to be truer to his new sinister persona following the event the game.”

I asked what he made of the response to the song and the warnings that were appearing in headlines. “As a father, I completely understand the concern. I didn’t intentionally make the song to scare young kids. It’s a song based on a monster from the indie horror game Poppy Playtime rated for teens and up. My video is targeted to the same audience.”

“The themes and visuals of my song and video are true to the character’s lore, actions and depiction in the game. I am not trying to make an innocent character seem scarier than they are. Much like Chucky from Child’s Play, Huggy Wuggy is and always was a horror character. My song is for fans of the source material which is not for young kids.”

I asked him what he had done to ensure that younger children didn’t have access to the video. “As a YouTube creator I have done everything in my power to make sure the video is not served to kids younger than 13. Since the moment of upload the video has been marked “Not made for kids.”

Since reports of the song being served on YouTube Kids started about a month ago I have been doing my own periodical sweeps of that platform and I have never found that video or song. I understand how my video being recommended to young kids would be concerning and inappropriate, but all evidence points to the previous reports saying that it’s on YouTube Kids to being false.”

What advice would he have for parents if they were worried about children finding the song and being upset by it? “As a parent, if even after making sure I’ve done everything I could to filter out this content and it still gets through, I would sit with my child and talk to them about what they saw, their feelings and reassure them that Huggy Wuggy is a made up character that can’t hurt them.”

Keeping Children Safe

Rather than warning children about specific dangers such as Momo or Huggy Wuggy, parents and professionals can better help children by teaching them good practices online.

Fostering an atmosphere of openness and transparency about online activity ensures that children can thrive. If you do notice them switching screens on their devices when approached or new numbers or email addresses on their devices it’s worth checking in with them.

Keep video games and YouTube watching in shared family spaces. In video games, you can also set-up restrictions on friends and accessing user generate content that may include Poppy Playtime themed add ons. Also, ensure you have Restricted mode on for your child’s account this content is not available to them.

I am a technology critic specializing in families. I’ve recently written the Taming Gaming book for parents and related Family Video Game Database. I write for

Source: Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need To Know About ‘Huggy Wuggy’

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Solving Your Online Game Development Challenges At The Edge

The global video games market continues to grow bigger and more competitive, with billions of players who expect fast online experiences. Game development also keeps getting more resource intensive. With AWS you can focus on creating unique experiences, scale to meet new demands easily, and solve latency challenges by deploying multiplayer servers anywhere.

Below you’ll learn more about how AWS Outposts can help you deliver the next great game development and capture a new generation of demanding online players. Read on to discover:

  • Key challenges that multiplayer gaming companies encounter
  • How AWS Outposts helps
  • A use case example of reducing latency

Gaming challenges

As multiplayer game companies look for further growth opportunities, keeping a seamless customer experience is paramount. To achieve this, there are some specific key challenges to address:

Fast and smooth in-game experience

Even if game application servers are deployed in multiple AWS Regions, players in locations far from the server will not experience the same low-latency benefits.

Teams’ competing development priorities

Developers need to be able to focus on developing unique games, not porting applications to multiple internal hardware stacks or managing hardware.

Growing developer demands

As games get bigger and target more platforms, build processes require more compute and storage resources.

How does AWS Outposts help?

With AWS Outposts, game companies can benefit from:

outposts tile

Plus… Outpost validated partner solution offerings

Protect and enrich the player experience by integrating with Outposts Partner offerings, like Veritas, Pure Storage, Sisense, CyberArk, AppDynamics, ScyllaDB and Confluent, that have been validated on AWS.

gaming stat

Gaming use cases

Reduce Cloud Gaming Latency

Problem – Game servers are too far from players

You want to give players an immersive experience. But they can’t compete on a level playing field, because latency is preventing them from reacting quickly to in-game events. Players can be vocal about the problem in online communities and if play isn’t smooth and immersive your game’s success could be limited by that.

Solution – Deploy close to players on AWS Outposts

  • You choose the locations
  • Migration is easy – can be moved to Outposts quickly
  • Consistent hybrid experience
  • You can worry less about failures (AWS manages, monitors, and updates your Outposts racks)

Which type of storage do you need?

Amazon EBS

Configure an Outpost up to 55TB in storage tiers. Snapshot and restore capabilities let you increase volume size without any performance impact.

Amazon S3

Now available in an Outpost, with S3 developers can store and retrieve data in the same way they would access or use data in an AWS Region.

Discover more about AWS Outposts for multiplayer gaming

With AWS Outposts developers can deliver responsive multiplayer gaming anywhere in the world and burst through development limits and the complexity associated with existing operations. Outposts are highly suited for this use case and provide the same services, APIs, and tools as in AWS Regions. Take the next steps by reading in our in-depth eBook here.

AWS Infrastructure Solutions

AWS Infrastructure Solutions

AWS infrastructure solutions allow enterprises across all industries the opportunity to bring AWS services closer to where it’s needed, such as on-premises with AWS Outposts, in large metro areas with AWS Local Zones, or at the edge of 5G networks with AWS Wavelength. These solutions offer enterprises the capability to deliver innovative applications and immersive next-generation experiences using AWS cloud services where they need it. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—are using AWS to lower costs, speed time to market, and become more dynamic. To learn more about AWS infrastructure solutions, visit aws.amazon.com.

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Al Jazeera English

The gaming industry’s labour force has had a year of reckoning. The video game industry is richer than the global movie and music industries combined. And it’s still growing. But a series of public scandals in recent years have revealed poor working conditions for the people making the games, as well as a culture that discriminates against women and minorities. Will calls for unionization in the industry take off? The newest episode of Start Here reveals what’s going on behind the gaming screen. Subscribe to our channel http://bit.ly/AJSubscribe Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/AJEnglish Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

Reebok And Athletes Cut Ties With CrossFit Over Founder Greg Glassman’s George Floyd Tweet

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Reebok has led the charge of brands and athletes cutting ties with fitness firm CrossFit, after founder and CEO Greg Glassman controversially tweeted “It’s Floyd-19” in response to a tweet about racism being a public health issue.

Reebok ended its exclusive ten-year deal as the main CrossFit sponsor and licensee of CrossFit apparel.

The sportswear giant said in a statement: “Our partnership with CrossFit HQ comes to an end later this year. Recently, we have been in discussions regarding a new agreement, however, in light of recent events, we have made the decision to end our partnership with CrossFit HQ.”

Professional CrossFit athlete Rich Froning, who has won the CrossFit Games four times, criticized Glassman’s comments to his 1.4 million Instagram followers, saying the last few days made it “impossible to stay loyal to leadership who make callous statements that alienate and divide in a time when unity is needed.”

CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey said she was “incredibly saddened, disappointed and frustrated” at the company and Glassman, adding: “My future with Crossfit is unclear and depends on the direction of HQ.”

Other CrossFit Athletes including last year’s second place competitor, Noah Ohlsen, announced he would not compete in this year’s games.

CrossFit affiliate gym Rocket CrossFit, based in Seattle, is one of at least 200 linked gyms to disaffiliate with the company, and in a blog post published a profanity-laden letter from Glassman that attacked the gym’s co-owner, Alyssa Royse, of trying to brand CrossFit as “racist.”

CrossFit games supplier Rogue Fitness, which provides strength training equipment to the event, said it would remove the CrossFit logo from this year’s event and will “work with CrossFit Games leadership to determine the best path forward.”

News peg

Glassman sparked outrage on Sunday after referring to the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody as “It’s FLOYD-19.” His tweet was a direct reply to a post from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that read: “Racism and discrimination are critical public health issues that demand an urgent response. #BlackLivesMatter.” Glassman later apologized on the CrossFit twitter page, saying: “I, CrossFit HQ, and the CrossFit community will not stand for racism. I made a mistake by the words I chose yesterday. My heart is deeply saddened by the pain it has caused. It was a mistake, not racist but a mistake.” As of Monday morning, Glassman’s original tweet on his personal account is still live.

Key background

Before Glassman’s tweet, CrossFit had stayed noticeably silent on Twitter and Instagram on the Black Lives Matter movement as a host of companies publicly took a stand on anti-racism following Floyd’s death. CrossFit has previously pledged public support for the LGBT community, as well as dedicating its “Hero” workouts to fallen soldiers.

Further reading

Boxed Out? CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman’s George Floyd Tweet Sparks Outrage (Forbes)

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I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at isabel.togoh@forbes.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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Greg Glassman Brands including Reebok cut ties over CrossFit CEO’s George Floyd tweet

UFC Champ Eddie Alvarez Plugs Bitcoin as Tweets and Usage Climb

UFC Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is jumping into bitcoin (BTC), after claiming yesterday on his Twitter account that he bought one full BTC currently worth just under $10,000. Data from BitInfoCharts also show rising network usage, as well as tweet incidence as the Bitcoin halving approaches in just three days.

Alvarez has jumped on the Bitcoin train despite “[having] no clue what it’s all about,” apparently coached into the purchase by fellow MMA fighter and former Olympic wrestler – and presumably friend – Ben Askren, whom Alvarez mentioned in the tweet. Askren is himself clearly a huge fan of the leading crypto, whose Twitter page festooned with articles and halving forecasts.

Active Addresses Rising

One piece of hard data we might use to correlate this anecdote is the ascending number of active addresses on the Bitcoin network, taken from data on BitInfoCharts.com. They define this statistic as the “Number of unique (from or to) addresses per day.”

We can clearly see that the number of active addresses has been hovering around 650,000 per day, until this February when it started to fluctuate significantly. Since roughly mid-April, active addresses have been steadily rising and are now numbering about 880,000.

Activity on the Bitcoin network is clearly rising, which may reflect a rise in novice users just coming into the Bitcoin / crypto space.Looking at another BitInfoCharts dataset, we see more supporting evidence for this thesis. The number of daily tweets about Bitcoin have increased significantly in the latter half of April, from about 30,000 to nearly 50,000 now. With the Bitcoin halving just days away, a buzz may be picking up.

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com

By: Colin Muller

Please follow my Instagram: http://instagram.com/arminhamidian67

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The Olympics Deserves Gold Medal In Economic Gloom

Rugby mania is coursing through Japan. It’s not just the sudden of burst of generously sized foreigners wandering around Tokyo, Sapporo and Kumamoto. Japan’s national team is beating virtually all expectations, even besting top-ranked Ireland.

Yet the Rugby World Cup is really a dry run for the main event of Shinzo Abe’s premiership: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Hosting the Summer Games is a career topper for Abe, whose grandfather, the former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, brought the 1964 Olympics to Tokyo. Fifty-five years on, that event still enjoys a bull market in nostalgia. It marked Japan’s return to the world stage from the ashes of war and humiliating defeat.

And wow, did it ever. Japan’s futuristic bullet trains, avant-garde stadiums and neon-lit skylines captured the global imagination. The nation hadn’t just risen, phoenix-like, it was suddenly setting the technological tone, serving as a preview for Japan’s economic boom of the 1970s and 1980s.

Today In: Asia

Can Japan do it again? Doubtful. In fact, there are valid reasons to worry next year’s Olympics might do more to limit Japan’s potential than unleash it.

For Abe, scoring the Olympics was partly about unfinished family business. Though his beloved grandfather secured the 1964 Games, history has been less kind on account of Kishi’s wartime exploits. He was part of the cabinet of Hideki Tojo that ordered the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. In the mid to late 1930s, Kishi played various senior roles in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. It was a ghastly and brutal an episode as historians found amid World War II. Kishi beat the odds–and war-crime charges. He became prime minister in 1957.

Much of what’s driven Abe in politics can be described as Kishi legacy rehabilitation. In Abe’s first stint as leader from 2006 to 2007–and in the current one since 2012–he’s worked to whitewash Japan’s wartime aggression. Securing the 2020 Games was in part a historical bookmark to open yet another period of rebirth–this time from a two-decade deflationary malaise.

Might Japan be courting a post-2020 funk instead? I don’t just mean the debt-laden hangover from giant and costly facilities that will go underused. It’s more the 1964-like magical thinking behind the dialogue surrounding Tokyo 2020.

Indonesia’s bid for the 2032 Olympics has a certain logic. Surely, its infrastructure needs could benefit from becoming the fourth Asian nation to host the Games after Japan, South Korea and China. But Japan’s construction boom amounts to redundant upgrades to already highly developed megacities.

Japan has long since been discovered. A weaker yen, relaxed visa restrictions and aggressive marketing already morphed Japan into a tourism mecca. In 2018, Japan welcomed more than 31 million tourist arrivals, equal to one-quarter of the population. Already, cities like Kyoto are studying ways to limit tourism, or ease the side effects from overcrowding to pollution.

Asia’s No. 2 economy doesn’t need stadiums, but a societal transformation. It needs to rekindle its innovative spirits, increase gender diversity, reduce rigidities across industries, improve productivity and welcome more foreign talent to offset an aging and shrinking population–talent that stays on long after the five-ring circus of sporting events leaves town.

Abe views Tokyo 2020 as the key to the “revitalization of Japan.” The city’s governor, Yuriko Koike, says the Olympics can “usher in a new Tokyo.” But where are the underlying politics to bring about this epochal change? A few weeks of events will come and go. Japan, though, will be stuck with the same dismal demographics, the same crushing debt load, the same overbearing bureaucracy and the same risk aversion that starves it of a vibrant tech startup scene.

In the magical thinking of Abe’s inner circle, 2020 is a, well, game-changer. Just as 1964 was a chance for his grandfather’s generation to showcase technological advancements, 2020 is Abe’s moment to display Japan’s “Society 5.0” street cred. Trouble is, China, Korea and Indonesia also are moving upmarket and innovating. Indonesia, for example, has already produced twice as many “unicorns” as Japan.

Japanese society often does a poor job keeping up with technological change. A few weeks of medal ceremonies, it’s worth noting, will do little to restore Japan to its 1980s innovative greatness. It won’t increase productivity, internationalize corporate practices or end senior-based promotion practices that reward mediocrity. It won’t morph Tokyo into a global financial center or endear Japan Inc. stocks to overseas investors.

The Olympics won’t usher in a pro-growth energy policy that moves Japan away from coal and nuclear reactors. It won’t prod millennials or General Z members to take greater risks. It won’t narrow the gender pay gap or challenge Japan’s patriarchy. And it won’t incentivize companies to boost wages, kicking off the virtuous cycle Abe hoped to generate.

Only bold, forward-looking reforms can generate the upgrades needed to restore Japan to vitality. The economics of nostalgia in which Abe’s government is indulging only treats the symptoms of why Japan’s economy has underperformed for 20 years.

Sure, Japan is politically and societally stable. Nor have deflation and stagnant wages led to the kind fissures–crime remains low and homelessness rare–they might emerge elsewhere. But in the Chinese era, Japan has two choices. One, accept lower living standards as regional upstarts boom. Two, ramp up innovation that creates new jobs and wealth.

Clearly, option No. 2 is the wiser route. But if Tokyo thinks the Olympics is the answer, it’s setting itself up for failure. How did the 2016 Games work out for Brazil? Or 2012 for a United Kingdom torching its future with the brawl over Brexit?

Did the 2008 Games revolutionize China, which has become even more of a black box since then? In 2004, Greece won a gold medal for overspending and hastened the onset of a financial crisis from which it’s still extricating itself.

Japan isn’t courting a crisis. But history is almost sure to show that the seven years between winning the Games in 2013 and the actual event were a lost period for major policy moves to ensure forward motion. Japan needs to level the playing fields, not just provide a few for visiting athletes.

I am a Tokyo-based journalist, former columnist for Barron’s and Bloomberg and author of “Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades.” My journalism awards include the 2010 Society of American Business Editors and Writers prize for commentary.

Source: The Olympics Deserves Gold Medal In Economic Gloom

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Next stop: Tokyo! The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang just had their closing ceremony and that means the world turns it’s attention to Japan. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games are 2 years away, and here is what we know right now. ▶︎ WHEN ARE THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES? July 24, 2020 to August 9, 2020 ▶︎ The New National Stadium It’s built on the same site as the 1964 Olympic Stadium. Designed by Kengo Kuma, it’s a very natural design surrounded by a lot of trees and parks. ▶︎ The Venues: There are 34 Venues separated into 2 zones. ▶︎ Heritage and Tokyo Bay: The Heritage zone is where the 1964 Olympics took place. Tokyo Bay is where the aquatics center, BMX and Skateboard course will be as well as other event. There are 12 events outside of these zones including foot / soccer, baseball, basketball. ▶︎ Ticket Prices for Tokyo 2020 Olympics: The average ticket price will be 7,700 yen ($72) and the opening and closing ceremonies will be between 25,000 yen ($235) and 150,000 yen ($1,400). Tickets will be sold online and at designated ticket centers in Tokyo. There are 33 sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics including 5 new ones: Aquatics, Archery, Athetics, Badminton, Baseball / Softball, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Football / Soccer, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Karate Modern pentathlon, Rowing, Rugby sevens, Sailing, Shooting, Skateboarding, Sport climbing, Surfing, Table tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling Within these sports, there are 324 events. Football / soccer actually starts 2 days before the opening ceremonies. URL: https://tokyo2020.org/en/ ★ ONLY in JAPAN on instagram: http://instagram.com/onlyinjapantv Music credits: “Running Fanfare” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Enter the Party by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… Artist: http://incompetech.com/
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